A high school that guarantees graduation and entry into a four-year college: that’s what Connie Cervantes offered parents of eighth graders at Ramona Gardens last week, as she pitched applications for a new Eastside campus of the USC Hybrid High School.
Cervantes is student recruitment coordinator for the school, which will open in August at a soon to be announced location near the County USC Hospital in Boyle Heights. She talked to parents at Tuesday’s Residents Advisory Council (RAC) meeting, inviting them to apply for the school before the Feb. 7 deadline.
Cervantes said only 145 students would be taken for the school, which will begin with a 9th grade and add a grade every year until reaching a graduating class in four years. That’s how a downtown campus has been operating for three years.
Cervantes stressed that it was important for the school that students in the Eastside communities of Lincoln Heights, El Sereno and Boyle Heights have first crack at its seats.
“We really feel that’s an underserved area and we feel that these kids could really benefit,” Cervantes said. “It’s a life-changing experience for the kids, and it’s an opportunity that they might not otherwise have. We don’t know of an other school nearby that can prepare them for the university the way this school will.”
Hybrid High School is a charter school authorized by LAUSD and run by Ednovate, a non-profit management organization focused on a personalized college preparatory curriculum. It was designed and built by the USC Rossier School of Education.
Cervantes said Hybrid High School East ”“as it will be known”“ will operate in a regular high school setting, with a teacher in each classroom. “But when the child gets inside the classroom, everyone has a laptop provided by us, all the assignments are on the laptop for the semester,” she added.
While the independent learning model allows each student to learn at his or her own pace, the students are continuously monitored and guided by a teacher.
The idea is that students learn in high school the same way they would in a four-year college. “We’re teaching the kids to make the decisions based on how they learn better and how much knowledge they have in a particular subject,” Cervantes said.
The school operates under the same principles as Chicago’s UIC College Prep, which according to Cervantes has a 100% success rate with its graduating class. She said the organization expects the same success rate with its first graduating class from the USC Hybrid High School downtown campus in 2016.
The Eastside campus location will be announced in early February. To assure that parents of eighth graders in Ramona Gardens and other Eastside communities learn of the school, Cervantes is personally recruiting students at community groups such as the RAC.
A recruitment event will take place Saturday, Feb. 7 at 2:00 p.m. at a location near St. Lucy’s Church in City Terrace (4100 City Terrace Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90063).
For more information, parents can call Cervantes at (562) 315-3111.